Natural Selection and Contrastive Explanation

Philosophy of Science 86 (3):412-430 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This article defends the Negative View of natural selection explanation, according to which natural selection cannot explain of any given individual why it has the traits it does. Over the years, this view has been criticized on empirical, metaphysical, and explanatory grounds. I review the debate and offer additional reasons for rejecting the empirical and metaphysical objections. The explanatory objection, which holds that the Negative View is rooted in a flawed account of contrastive explanation, initially seems plausible. However, I argue that a closer consideration of the desiderata of contrastive explanation shows that this objection fails as well.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,953

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Negative View of Natural Selection.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):569-573.
Natural Selection Explanation and Origin Essentialism.Joel Pust - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):201-220.
Selection Explanations of Token Traits.Brian McLoone - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):342-346.
What can natural selection explain?Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (1):61-66.
Contrastive explanation and causal triangulation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - Philosophy of Science 58 (4):687-697.
Selection explanations of token traits.Brian McLoone - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):342-346.
What does natural selection explain? Correction to Sober.Karen Neander - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (3):422-426.
Natural selection and the traits of individual organisms.Joel Pust - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):765-779.

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-03-05

Downloads
81 (#211,477)

6 months
21 (#133,725)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Joeri Witteveen
University of Copenhagen

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Précis of Inference to the Best Explanation, 2 nd Edition.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3):397-399.
Natural selection and distributive explanation: A reply to Neander.Elliott Sober - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (3):384-397.

View all 28 references / Add more references